Pittosporum-tobira 2This broadleaf evergreen shrub native to China, Japan, and Korea, is a tough adaptable medium-sized shrub that can be used in a variety of ways in mild climates. Upright with a round form and coarse texture, pittosporum has outstanding foliage. The oval dark green leaves are one to five inches long, leathery and shiny, and are produced in whorls around the stem giving the plant an overall dense and bushy look. In spring two to three inch clusters of fragrant white flowers are produced followed by a hairy, woody capsule containing black seeds. Plants can take shearing and heavy pruning so pittosporum is good for formal hedges and screens. It does well in both sun and shade and is attractive in borders and containers. Because of its salt and drought tolerance it can be used in seaside plantings. The foliage is popular in the florist trade.

Type: Broadleaf evergreen shrub

Outstanding Features: Foliage; adaptability

Form: Upright, round, dense

Growth Rate: Slow to medium

Pittosporum tobiraBloom: Small fragrant white flowers are produced in clusters 2-3′ cross in spring.

Size: 8-12′ H x 4-8′ W

Light: Full sun to part shade; tolerates deep shade

Soil:Fertile to average, medium moist, well-drained; drought tolerant but looks considerably better when watered regularly

Hardiness: Zones 8-10

Care: Prune to shape

Pests and Diseases: Scale and aphids can be a problem; susceptible to leaf hoppers, mites, galls, pink limb blight

Propagation: Cuttings, seeds

Pittosporum tobira VariegatumOutstanding Selections:

    • ‘Variegatum’ (gray-green foliage with white variegation; 5′ tall)

    ‘Wheeler’s Dwarf’ (2′ tall).

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By Karen